Which Peanuts Are Safe?

COLUMBUS, Ga (WTVM) - "Peanuts here, they start out, they're raw peanuts, and it takes a little more than 30 minutes to go through the process."

Tom's Snacks General Manager Jack Warden describes part of the process for making peanut products at the local factory.

He says it's a process that starts long before the peanuts even reach Tom's in Columbus.

"We basically contract with the farmer or the grower of the peanut and we watch that process and are involved in that process from the time the peanuts are planted all the way through harvest and through the time we bring them in house," says Warden.

Once on site, some peanuts are oil roasted to eventually go into snack bags. Others are dry roasted and made into a paste.

Warden says this ability to make and track the product from start to finish is what separates Tom's Snacks from others on the market.

In fact, none of its products are involved in the current salmonella outbreak and subsequent recall.

"It's a series of steps and procedures, and policies and procedures and training all that meshes together to make sure that the products we make are 100% safe, and that there's never any risk involved for the consumer," explains Warden.

Like other plants, Tom's undergoes routine, un-announced inspections from the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Warden says they also conduct in-house inspections and use a third party to do the same.

"They just show up on our doorstep and spend a full week here going through our records, our cleaning, our sanitation, our testing procedures," says Warden of the inspection and audit type process.

Warden says he hopes this will give customers confidence that Tom's snacks, as well as many others on store shelves are still safe to eat.

"The truth of the matter is that's a very small percentage of the total, and by far all the peanut products on the market, most of it is safe."

Newsleader 9 also contacted officials with Kelloggs, which has a local facility.  The company did have products involved in the recall.  The company, however, has not issued a response to our request.

Tom's Foods has also launched a nationwide campaign to discuss what it considers the safety of its products.  Click here for more information.